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May 22, 2024

How to Ace Your VA Exam for PTSD: The Ultimate Guide

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want to learn how to implement these strategies to get the VA benefits you deserve, click here to speak with a VA claim expert for free.

Today, Brian Reese the VA Claims Insider will explain how to ace your VA C&P exam for PTSD.

It’s understandably scary and uncomfortable to get scheduled for a PTSD C&P exam.

However, understanding what to expect and how to prepare along with some of the questions asked during the exam can help educate and empower you to open-up and share your uncomfortable truths on exam day.

You must be uncomfortably vulnerable and tell the examiner how you are on your very worst days (ensure you’re being honest and truthful).

Let’s begin!

Summary of Key Points

  • Types of VA PTSD Exams: There are three main types of VA PTSD exams to understand for effective navigation of the claims process: the PTSD Initial Exam for new claims, the PTSD Review Exam for existing ratings seeking an increase or review within the first 5 years, and the PTSD Personal Trauma Exam for non-combat PTSD related to personal trauma, including Military Sexual Trauma (MST).
  • C&P Exam Purpose: A C&P exam for PTSD evaluates four key areas: confirming a PTSD diagnosis per DSM-5 criteria, validating the PTSD stressor event (whether it involved a life-threatening situation), determining if PTSD was caused or aggravated by military service (for initial claims), and assessing the severity and impact of PTSD symptoms on occupational and social functioning.
  • VA Ratings for PTSD: The VA assigns disability ratings for PTSD based on the severity of mental health symptoms and how those symptoms affect your occupational and social impairment. VA ratings for PTSD range from 0% to 100% with breaks at 10%, 30%, 50%, and 70%.

VA Exam for PTSD: 3 Different Types Explained

Understanding the different types of VA exams for PTSD can help you navigate the claims process more effectively and calm your nerves.

Here are the three main types of VA PTSD exams:

1. PTSD Initial Exam

If you’re filing a new claim for PTSD, you’ll undergo an initial VA exam for PTSD.

Initial PTSD exams are typically longer than review exams and require additional development, including validation of a PTSD stressor.

This category covers both combat and non-combat related PTSD.

2. PTSD Review Exam

If you already have a PTSD rating and are seeking an increase, you’ll have a PTSD review exam.

This type of exam is for veterans who are already service-connected for PTSD and are looking to increase their rating or review their initial rating within the first 5 years.

This category includes both combat and non-combat related PTSD that is already service-connected at 0% or higher.

The primary focus of a review exam for PTSD is to determine if your symptoms have worsened since your previous exam and last rating.

3. PTSD Personal Trauma Exam

Personal trauma refers to stressor events involving harm inflicted by someone not considered part of an enemy force.

Examples include assault, battery, robbery, mugging, stalking, and harassment.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is a subset of personal trauma and involves sexual harassment, assault, or rape in a military setting.

This exam is for non-combat PTSD and can be either an initial or review exam.

The Purpose of a VA PTSD Examination

A C&P exam for PTSD is designed to evaluate four main areas:

  • Validate the PTSD stressor event. The stressful event can be due to combat, personal trauma, other life threatening situations (non-combat related stressors). The key element for a valid PTSD stressor event is whether a veteran feared for their life.
  • The examiner will provide their medical opinion on whether your PTSD was caused or made worse by your active duty military service or another service-connected condition. This is only for initial PTSD claims. If you already have a rating for PTSD, the examiner will not give a medical opinion for service connection.
  • Assess the severity of your PTSD symptoms in terms of frequency, severity, and duration, and their negative impact on your occupational and social impairment.

What to Expect During a C&P Exam for PTSD

Here are six things you can expect during a VA PTSD C&P exam:

1. Review of Medical History

The C&P examiner will start by reviewing your medical records, including any previous diagnoses, treatments, or evaluations related to your PTSD. The examiner has access to the medical records and documents you submitted to the VA.

2. Discussion of Symptoms

The examiner will ask you about your PTSD symptoms, including when you first noticed them, how often you experience them, and the severity of the symptoms. Be prepared to discuss issues like flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, depression, and avoidance behaviors.

3. Negative Impacts on Daily Life

You’ll be asked about how your PTSD affects your daily activities, such as sleeping, concentrating, working, socializing, and overall quality of life. Be honest and provide specific examples of how your PTSD interferes with your ability to function normally.

4. Mental Health Evaluation

The examiner will conduct a mental health evaluation, which includes asking about your military service, traumatic experiences, and the progression of your symptoms. They may also assess your coping mechanisms and any treatment you’ve received.

5. Psychological Testing

You may undergo standardized psychological tests to assess the severity of your PTSD symptoms. These tests help the examiner understand your condition objectively and can include questions about your mental state and emotional well-being.

6. Completion of the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) for PTSD

The examiner will document their findings on the VA DBQ for PTSD, which is then submitted to the VA rater for further processing. Eventually, the VA rater will either approve, deny, or defer your VA claim for PTSD based on the examiner’s report. The results of your exam as documented on the DBQ largely determine your final VA rating for PTSD.

List of Common PTSD C&P Exam Questions

During a C&P exam for PTSD, the examiner will likely ask a range of questions to assess your condition based on the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) criteria.

Here are some of the key questions you can expect:

Diagnostic Summary

  1. Do you have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria?
  2. Do you have any other mental health diagnoses? If so, what are they?

Current Diagnoses

  1. Can you describe the symptoms you experience for each mental health diagnosis?
  2. How do these symptoms affect your daily life and functioning?

Differentiation of Symptoms

  1. If you have multiple mental health diagnoses, can you differentiate which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis?
  2. Do you have a diagnosed Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)? If so, can you differentiate the symptoms between TBI and non-TBI mental health conditions?

Occupational and Social Impairment

  1. How do your PTSD symptoms impact your ability to work?
  2. How do your PTSD symptoms affect your social interactions and relationships?
  3. Can you describe any periods when your symptoms were particularly severe and how they affected your work and social life?

Evidence Review

  1. Have you reviewed your medical records and claims file prior to this examination?


  1. Can you provide a brief overview of your social, marital, and family history?
  2. What is your occupational and educational history before, during, and after military service?
  3. Can you describe your mental health history, including any prescribed medications and family mental health background?
  4. Do you have any relevant legal or behavioral history?
  5. Do you have a history of substance abuse?

Stressor Events

  1. Can you describe specific stressor events that you consider traumatic?
  2. Were these stressors related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity?
  3. Were any of these stressors related to in-service personal assault, such as military sexual trauma?

PTSD Diagnostic Criteria

  1. Can you describe the traumatic events you were exposed to, including direct experiences, witnessing events, or learning about events affecting close family or friends?
  2. Do you experience recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events?
  3. Do you have recurrent distressing dreams related to the traumatic events?
  4. Do you experience dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks)?
  5. Do you experience intense psychological distress or physiological reactions to cues that resemble an aspect of the traumatic events?
  6. Do you avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings associated with the traumatic events?
  7. Do you avoid external reminders (e.g., people, places, activities) that arouse distressing memories?
  8. Do you have negative alterations in cognition and mood associated with the traumatic events?
  9. Do you experience marked alterations in arousal and reactivity (e.g., irritability, hypervigilance, exaggerated startle response)?
  10. How long have these symptoms persisted (must be more than one month)?
  11. Do these symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning?
  12. Are these symptoms attributable to the physiological effects of a substance or another medical condition?

PTSD Symptoms

  1. Do you experience symptoms such as depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks, chronic sleep impairment, memory loss, or impaired judgment?
  2. How often do you experience these symptoms and how severe are they?

Behavioral Observations

  1. How do you typically behave in social settings and during daily activities?

Other Symptoms

  1. Are there any other symptoms you experience that are not listed above?


  1. Are you capable of managing your financial affairs? If not, why?

Additional Remarks

  1. Is there anything else you would like to share that might be relevant to your PTSD diagnosis and its impact on your life?

Understanding Occupational and Social Impairment Levels for a PTSD VA Rating

During a C&P exam for PTSD the level of occupational and social impairment is a crucial factor.

Note: The examiner is required to document your PTSD symptoms and then determine how those symptoms negatively affect your occupational and social impairment.

Here are the categories of impairment, ordered from no rating to 100%:

No Mental Disorder Diagnosis (no rating)

  • Meaning: The veteran has no diagnosed mental health condition.
  • Implication for VA Rating: No rating is assigned as there is no mental health diagnosis impacting occupational or social functioning.

A Mental Condition Has Been Formally Diagnosed, but Symptoms Are Not Severe Enough to Interfere with Occupational and Social Functioning or to Require Continuous Medication (0%)

  • Meaning: The veteran has a diagnosed mental condition, but the symptoms do not impact their ability to work or socialize and do not require ongoing medication.
  • Example: The veteran might have occasional symptoms that are easily managed without significant interference in daily life.
  • Implication for VA Rating: This corresponds to a 0% disability rating, meaning the veteran is recognized as having a condition but it does not warrant compensation.

Occupational and Social Impairment Due to Mild or Transient Symptoms (10%)

  • Meaning: The veteran’s symptoms are mild or transient and only decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks during periods of significant stress. Symptoms are controlled by medication.
  • Example: The veteran can perform well at work and socially most of the time but may experience temporary setbacks during stressful periods.
  • Implication for VA Rating: This corresponds to a 10% disability rating.

Occupational and Social Impairment with Occasional Decrease in Work Efficiency and Intermittent Periods of Inability to Perform Occupational Tasks (30%)

  • Meaning: The veteran generally functions satisfactorily but has occasional decreases in work efficiency and intermittent inability to perform tasks due to PTSD symptoms.
  • Example: The veteran may generally handle routine tasks well but struggle during periods of significant stress.
  • Implication for VA Rating: This level of impairment corresponds to a 30% disability rating.

Occupational and Social Impairment with Reduced Reliability and Productivity (50%)

  • Meaning: The veteran experiences significant, but less severe, impairments that reduce reliability and productivity in work and social situations.
  • Example: The veteran may have frequent panic attacks, memory problems, or mood swings that interfere with work and social interactions.
  • Implication for VA Rating: This corresponds to a 50% disability rating.

Occupational and Social Impairment with Deficiencies in Most Areas (70%)

  • Meaning: The veteran has significant impairments in several major areas such as work, school, family relationships, judgment, thinking, or mood.
  • Example: The veteran may have difficulty maintaining a job, severe relationship problems, poor judgment, and frequent emotional disturbances.
  • Implication for VA Rating: This level of impairment usually corresponds to a 70% disability rating.

Total Occupational and Social Impairment (100%)

  • Meaning: The veteran is completely unable to function in a work or social environment due to their PTSD symptoms.
  • Example: The veteran cannot maintain employment, has no social relationships, and requires significant assistance with daily living.
  • Implication for VA Rating: This level typically corresponds to a 100% disability rating, indicating the most severe level of impairment.

The 31 Mental Health Symptoms from the PTSD DBQ with Examples

Here’s a list of the 31 mental health symptoms from the DBQ for PTSD along with the definition of each symptom and an example:

Depressed Mood:

  • Meaning: Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness.
  • Example: Feeling sad and hopeless most days, struggling to find joy in activities that were once enjoyable.


  • Meaning: Excessive worry, nervousness, or fear that is difficult to control.
  • Example: Constantly feeling on edge, worrying excessively about everyday tasks or future events.


  • Meaning: Distrust of others and belief that people are out to harm you.
  • Example: Believing that neighbors are spying on you without any concrete evidence.

Panic Attacks (weekly or less often):

  • Meaning: Sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort that occur occasionally.
  • Example: Experiencing a sudden heart-pounding episode of intense fear while shopping, occurring once or twice a month.

Panic Attacks (more than once a week):

  • Meaning: Frequent sudden episodes of intense fear or discomfort.
  • Example: Having severe panic attacks multiple times a week, leading to avoidance of crowded places.

Near-continuous Panic or Depression:

  • Meaning: Constant feelings of panic or depression that severely impact daily functioning.
  • Example: Feeling a constant state of panic or depression that makes it impossible to work or socialize effectively.

Chronic Sleep Impairment:

  • Meaning: Ongoing difficulty falling or staying asleep, or having restless sleep.
  • Example: Waking up frequently throughout the night and feeling exhausted during the day due to persistent nightmares.

Mild Memory Loss:

  • Meaning: Occasional forgetfulness, such as forgetting names, directions, or recent events.
  • Example: Frequently forgetting where you put your keys or what you planned to do after entering a room.

Impairment of Short and Long Term Memory:

  • Meaning: Difficulty retaining new information and remembering important tasks.
  • Example: Forgetting important appointments or failing to recall significant events from the past few months.

Memory Loss for Names of Close Relatives, Own Occupation, or Own Name:

  • Meaning: Severe memory loss affecting recognition of close family members, one’s job, or even one’s own name.
  • Example: Struggling to remember the names of your children or forgetting what you do for a living.

Flattened Affect:

  • Meaning: Lack of emotional expression and response.
  • Example: Speaking in a monotone voice and showing little to no facial expressions during conversations.

Circumstantial, Circumlocutory, or Stereotyped Speech:

  • Meaning: Indirect, roundabout, or repetitive speech patterns.
  • Example: Taking a long time to get to the point of a story because of unnecessary details or repeated phrases.

Speech Intermittently Illogical, Obscure, or Irrelevant:

  • Meaning: Inconsistent speech that is difficult to follow or understand.
  • Example: Responding to a question with unrelated information or statements that don’t make sense.

Difficulty in Understanding Complex Commands:

  • Meaning: Trouble comprehending and following intricate instructions.
  • Example: Struggling to follow multi-step instructions at work, needing tasks to be broken down into simpler steps.

Impaired Judgment:

  • Meaning: Poor decision-making abilities.
  • Example: Making impulsive decisions without considering the consequences, such as spending money recklessly.

Impaired Abstract Thinking:

  • Meaning: Difficulty in thinking about concepts and ideas that are not concrete.
  • Example: Struggling to understand idioms or metaphors, taking them literally instead.

Gross Impairment in Thought Processes or Communication:

  • Meaning: Severe disruption in the ability to think clearly and communicate effectively.
  • Example: Having disorganized thoughts that make it hard to hold a coherent conversation.

Disturbances of Motivation and Mood:

  • Meaning: Lack of drive or significant changes in mood and emotional state.
  • Example: Feeling unmotivated to get out of bed or complete daily tasks, experiencing sudden mood swings.

Difficulty in Establishing and Maintaining Effective Work and Social Relationships:

  • Meaning: Struggles with forming and keeping productive professional and personal relationships.
  • Example: Frequently clashing with colleagues or avoiding social gatherings due to discomfort.

Difficulty Adapting to Stressful Circumstances:

  • Meaning: Challenges in coping with stress, especially in work or similar settings.
  • Example: Feeling overwhelmed and shutting down when faced with tight deadlines or high-pressure situations.

Inability to Establish and Maintain Effective Relationships:

  • Meaning: Complete inability to form and sustain healthy relationships.
  • Example: Isolating oneself and having no close friends or supportive relationships.

Suicidal Ideation:

  • Meaning: Thoughts of taking one’s own life.
  • Example: Frequently thinking about suicide or having a detailed plan to end one’s life.

Obsessional Rituals Which Interfere with Routine Activities:

  • Meaning: Compulsive behaviors that disrupt daily life.
  • Example: Repeatedly checking if the door is locked for an hour before being able to leave the house.

Impaired Impulse Control:

  • Meaning: Unprovoked irritability and anger leading to violent outbursts.
  • Example: Getting into physical altercations over minor disagreements.

Spatial Disorientation:

  • Meaning: Confusion about location or surroundings.
  • Example: Getting lost in a familiar neighborhood or being unable to navigate one’s own home.

Persistent Delusions or Hallucinations:

  • Meaning: Continuous false beliefs or perceptions without external stimuli.
  • Example: Believing you are being followed when no one is there, or hearing voices that no one else hears.

Grossly Inappropriate Behavior:

  • Meaning: Actions that are socially unacceptable or out of context.
  • Example: Laughing uncontrollably at a funeral or making inappropriate comments in serious situations.

Persistent Danger of Hurting Self or Others:

  • Meaning: Constant risk of causing harm to oneself or others.
  • Example: Frequently engaging in self-harm or expressing a desire to harm others.

Neglect of Personal Appearance and Hygiene:

  • Meaning: Lack of self-care and personal cleanliness.
  • Example: Not bathing for weeks, wearing dirty clothes, and appearing disheveled.

Intermittent Inability to Perform Activities of Daily Living:

  • Meaning: Occasional inability to manage basic self-care tasks.
  • Example: Some days being unable to cook, clean, or dress oneself.

Disorientation to Time or Place:

  • Meaning: Confusion about the current time or location.
  • Example: Not knowing what day it is or where you are after waking up.

How to Prepare for Your VA PTSD C&P Exam

Preparing for your VA C&P exam for PTSD is crucial to ensure you effectively communicate the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your daily life.

Here are some tips to help you get ready for your exam:

1. Gather Records and Documents

Collect all relevant medical records, including diagnoses, treatment history, therapy notes, and any correspondence related to your PTSD. These documents provide essential evidence to support your claim. Review them in detail and bring hard copies with you to the exam for reference.

2. Create a Symptom Diary

Keep a detailed log of your PTSD symptoms, noting their frequency, severity, and duration. Document any factors that exacerbate or alleviate your symptoms, such as triggers or coping mechanisms. This diary will help you articulate the impact of your PTSD on your daily life during the exam.

3. List Functional Impacts

Make a list of specific ways your PTSD affects your ability to perform daily tasks and activities. This may include difficulties with concentration, sleep disturbances, or challenges in social or work environments. Providing concrete examples of how PTSD negatively impacts your daily functioning will strengthen your case during the exam.

4. Review the DBQ for PTSD

It’s a good idea to review the PTSD Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ). Be prepared to describe the onset and progression of your PTSD symptoms over time, as well as any treatments you have pursued and their effectiveness. Additionally, be ready to discuss how PTSD impacts your work, life, and social functioning.

5. Prepare for Common Questions

Anticipate questions the examiner might ask based on the DBQ. These can include:

  • Descriptions of traumatic events that led to your PTSD.
  • How you experience symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares, and anxiety.
  • How PTSD affects your relationships, work, and social life.
  • Any history of treatment, including medications and therapy.

6. Bring a Support Person

Consider bringing a trusted friend, family member, or advocate to the exam. They can provide additional insights into how PTSD affects you and offer emotional support. Their perspective can be valuable in illustrating the impact of your condition. Note: This is not required.

7. Be Honest and Detailed

When discussing your symptoms and their impact, be honest and detailed. Don’t downplay your experiences. Explain your worst days and how PTSD affects you at its most severe. This honesty is crucial for an accurate assessment of your condition.

Common Mental Health C&P Exam Checklists

It’s very common to receive various mental health checklists, including the PHQ-9, GAD-7, and PCL-5 for PTSD.

Here are the most common mental health checklists so you know what to expect on exam day.

Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9)

This checklist is a widely used tool for screening and diagnosing depression.

It consists of 9-10 questions that assess the frequency of symptoms experienced over the past two weeks. Here are the questions.

These questions are scored on a scale from 0 to 3, with 0 representing “Not at all” and 3 representing “Nearly every day”.

The total score can then be used to categorize the severity of depression symptoms.

  1. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  2. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
  3. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
  4. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling tired or having little energy?
  5. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by poor appetite or overeating?
  6. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling bad about yourself – or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
  7. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
  8. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed? Or the opposite – being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual?
  9. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by thoughts that you would be better off dead or of hurting yourself in some way?
  10. If you checked off any problems, how difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7)

The Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item scale (GAD-7) is a self-reported 7-question checklist used to assess the severity of generalized anxiety disorder.

These questions are scored on a scale from 0 to 3, with 0 representing “Not at all” and 3 representing “Nearly every day”.

  1. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling nervous, anxious, or on edge?
  2. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by not being able to stop or control worrying?
  3. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by worrying too much about different things?
  4. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by having trouble relaxing?
  5. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by being so restless that it’s hard to sit still?
  6. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by becoming easily annoyed or irritable?
  7. Over the last 2 weeks, how often have you been bothered by feeling afraid as if something awful might happen?

PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5)

The PCL-5, or the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5, is a questionnaire used to assess the presence and severity of PTSD symptoms.

Here is the list of the 20 questions from the PCL-5.

These questions are scored on a scale from 0 to 4, with 0 representing “Not at all” and 4 representing “Extremely.”

  1. In the past month, how much were you bothered by repeated, disturbing, and unwanted memories of the stressful experience?
  2. In the past month, how much were you bothered by repeated, disturbing dreams of the stressful experience?
  3. In the past month, how much were you bothered by suddenly feeling or acting as if the stressful experience were happening again?
  4. In the past month, how much were you bothered by feeling very upset when something reminded you of the stressful experience?
  5. In the past month, how much were you bothered by having strong physical reactions when something reminded you of the stressful experience (e.g., heart pounding, sweating)?
  6. In the past month, how much were you bothered by avoiding memories, thoughts, or feelings related to the stressful experience?
  7. In the past month, how much were you bothered by avoiding external reminders of the stressful experience (e.g., people, places, conversations, activities, objects, or situations)?
  8. In the past month, how much were you bothered by not being able to remember important parts of the stressful experience?
  9. In the past month, how much were you bothered by having strong negative beliefs about yourself, others, or the world?
  10. In the past month, how much were you bothered by blaming yourself or someone else for the stressful experience or what happened after it?
  11. In the past month, how much were you bothered by having strong negative feelings such as fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame?
  12. In the past month, how much were you bothered by not being interested in activities you used to enjoy?
  13. In the past month, how much were you bothered by feeling distant or cut off from other people?
  14. In the past month, how much were you bothered by not being able to have loving feelings for those close to you?
  15. In the past month, how much were you bothered by feeling irritable or having angry outbursts?
  16. In the past month, how much were you bothered by having difficulty concentrating?
  17. In the past month, how much were you bothered by being “super alert” or watchful on guard?
  18. In the past month, how much were you bothered by feeling jumpy or easily startled?
  19. In the past month, how much were you bothered by having difficulty falling or staying asleep?
  20. In the past month, how much were you bothered by feeling that your future will somehow be cut short or won’t amount to much?

List of VA Mental Health Exam Checklists

VA C&P examiners often use structured interviews, rating scales, and assessment tools to aid in the diagnostic process.

Here are some commonly used checklists and assessment tools aligned with the DSM-5 criteria for diagnosing mental health conditions:

  • Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI): A brief structured diagnostic interview used to assess major psychiatric disorders, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, and substance use disorders.
  • Structured Clinical Interview for DSM Disorders (SCID): A comprehensive diagnostic interview designed to assess major psychiatric disorders according to DSM criteria. It includes modules for mood disorders, psychotic disorders, substance use disorders, and other conditions.
  • Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D): A standardized questionnaire used to assess the severity of depressive symptoms in individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
  • Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9): A self-reported questionnaire used to assess depressive symptoms based on DSM-5 criteria.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7): A self-reported questionnaire used to assess the severity of generalized anxiety disorder symptoms based on DSM-5 criteria.
  • PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 (PCL-5): A self-report measure used to assess symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) according to DSM-5 criteria.

List of Important VA PTSD DBQ Forms

The C&P examiner will complete the electronic version of the PTSD DBQ at the conclusion of your exam.

Here are the two types of DBQs for PTSD:

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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